Throughout the scriptures we read of numerous times when the LORD was pleased to communicate with various people through dreams. I would venture to say that all men dream to one extent or another on a regular basis. They may or may not remember those dreams. While the LORD may yet do so from time to time, this sort of “heavenly” communication is far from being commonplace and occurs much less frequently than many “dreamers of dreams” would have us to believe. Many dreams are simply the result of too much pizza too late at night rather than a communique with heaven. Now having said that we would not offhandedly declare that such does not take place at all nor that the LORD does not use our subconscious mind to teach us things which will be of benefit to us.
The LORD warned of those who were spurious dreamers. “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams.” (Deut 13:1-3) Any dream that arises from a heavenly SOURCE will never contradict or be at odds with the plainly revealed TRUTH found in the scriptures. The LORD warned of those who might prophesy lies in HIS NAME. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa 8:19-20)
Any dream which does not lead a man to glorify CHRIST and HIM crucified cannot be relied upon as a message from the LORD. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26) While the LORD may direct our thoughts in dreams HE will always bring us to rely upon that written WORD which HE has seen fit to preserve for us. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet 1:19-21)
The first mention of the LORD speaking to someone in a dream is when HE warned Abimelech not to touch Sarah, Abraham’s wife. (see Gen.20:3-7) HE also spoke to Jacob in dreams as well as Laban the Syrian. Yet the one who seems to have been associated with dreams the most is Joseph the son of Jacob who is called the Dreamer by his brethren with a note of disgust. Not only was Joseph given dreams, but he most prominently was an interpreter of the dreams of others as the LORD gave him understanding. Both his dreams and his interpretations are surely from the LORD since they all, without fail, came to pass in keeping with the LORD’s revealed purpose.
Daniel is also prominently mentioned in the scriptures in connection with dreams, some of his own, but mostly his interpretations of those of the kings of Babylon. In all of these dreams the LORD declared the glory of HIS kingdom in stark contrast to the demise of those earthly kings and the destruction of their pride and status. For all dreams which have their origins in that Kingdom will indeed magnify the ONE who rules in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and will give men no place to glory.
The prophet Joel declared a prophecy which has had its fulfillment on the day of Pentecost, as the LORD raised up a testimony to the reign of JESUS CHRIST as the REDEEMER KING of the house of Israel. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.(Joel 2:28) Peter testified that this had come to pass on that very day as the disciples spoke with other tongues and men heard in their own language “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” (Acts 2:16)
There is another individual in the scriptures to whom the LORD appeared four times in a dream. This is another “Joseph”, being that one whom the LORD had directed to take unto himself, the virgin Mary, the mother of the LORD JESUS, to be his wife. “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat 1:20) He was not disobedient unto that heavenly vision even as the LORD showed him who this ONE was by NAME and what HE would accomplish. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat 1:21)
What a wondrous revelation! The first time HIS NAME is spoken was in a dream. This is that NAME which is above every name. That NAME before which every knee shall bow. That NAME which speaks peace to a multitude which no man can number. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.” (Psa 45:17)
HE spoke to Joseph in a dream, a second time. “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Mat 2:13) This was done to illustrate the hatred and enmity of the world for this ONE who came to deliver HIS people and to reign forever in HIS Kingdom of Righteousness. Thus, is fulfilled that prophecy, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hos 11:1) The gates of hell cannot prevail against HIM, much less the sons of men.
Then a third time HE spoke to Joseph in a dream. “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt” (Mat 2:19) HE told him to return to the land of Israel. Though HE sojourned in Egypt, it was unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel that HE was sent. Thus, it was necessary for HIM to return to the land of HIS nativity. The children of GOD cannot come to HIM so it is necessary that HE comes unto them, to seek and to save that which is lost. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2Tim 2:19)
And yet a fourth time, we see HIM speaking to Joseph in a dream. “being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee.” (Mat 2:22) While some might see little significance in this occurrence, we see the necessity of it in the next verse; “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Mat 2:23) HE came from this lowly town to demonstrate HIS humility among men and that HE might hide HIMSELF from the wise and prudent who scoffed at HIS abode. We see this as the Pharisee’s upbraided Nicodemus, “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” (John 7:52)
It is indeed glorious when the LORD is pleased to speak to HIS children in dreams, yet because the heart is deceitful we must be wary of dreamers. “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.” (Ecc 5:7) Put no confidence in dreams nor lean to thine own understanding, give CHRIST all glory and worship HIM.